Skip to content Skip to navigation

Academic Events

Professor Zhang Ku Talking about the Image Change of Political Leaders

“The public’s understanding and tolerance of the political leaders have arisen in the age of information. The public thought the ideal political leaders as public servants with flaws but still respectable, diligent and trustworthy.”  Said Professor Zhang Kun.

On the 10th of Mar, the Dean of School of Journalism and Information Communication of Huazhong University of Science and Technology addressed a speech themed as “the image change of political leaders” at the Suiyuan Campus Forum.

Professor Zhang divided the transition of the political leaders’ image into three stages which are farming age, industrial age and information age according to the dimension of technical development. The industrial age here different with the general historical sense, is from the beginning of the 17th century to the 1940s. It was farming age before that, and information age after that.

Professor Zhang pointed out that the political leader in farming age was divine. They were  presented that they undertook the mission of heaven and was with courage, wisdom and moral . The image was formed because of the low level of information dissemination and also because of the high degree of integration of the power and information dissemination. 

Unlike the image of the “half man- half god” political leaders in farming age, political leaders in industrial age focused more on their personal political charm. They control and use the mass media actively and shaped themselves into one authority with moral responsibility, superb persuasive skills and strong execution. “Compared with the alienation of the farming age, the political leaders in industrial age was closer to the general public”

As the information age arrived, the production life and social governance form of farming age and industrial age were completely converted. The political process becomes less and less divine and the political leaders and their behavior are more ordinary. The public can become fans to the leaders they like. They can flock together quickly but can also scatter up soon when simulated by an unexpected incident.

The image strategy of the political leaders changed because of this. They pay special attention to what the public like and are more willing to debut before the camera and show their personality, diligence, fraternity, responsibility and talent to enhance the public’s favor to them. 

Professor Zhang stressed that the political leader’s image in information age not only depends on the morality, the image consciousness and political behavior, but at a certain degree, aslo depends on the spread of all kinds of media.  And the latter has more and more increasing effect. The influence is mainly reflected in three ways: to bridge the distance people and the political leader; to highlight the unique personality of political leaders by comparing with ordinary people; to cover up the weakness of the leader through packaging.  

In the end, he concluded that “The shaping of political leader is complex. To realize the expected purpose, the political leader needs have the image consciousness and follow the rules of communication and keep consistent with the public’s favor.” Teachers and students were very inspired by Professor Zhang’s lecture. (article by Lu Weijing, picture by You Yidan)